Dr. Rick Harper


In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses University of West Florida President Judith Bense’s 2015 state of the university address, as well as ongoing improvement in the U.S. housing market. 

Bense addressed a crowd of several hundred at the UWF Field House Thursday morning. The president, who will retire at the end of 2016, painted a mixed economic picture for the university. 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest Florida jobs report and the Federal Reserve’s decision to postpone increasing interest rates.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity this week released the jobs report for August, showing overall growth of 3.1 percent, or 243,000 new jobs, for the state.

In this week's Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper points out that tourism has never been better in the Sunshine State. "The numbers are good", said Dr. Harper, Director of the UWF Center for Research and Economic Opportunity. "The governor just released the number of visitors. 54 million for the first half of the year." Harper pointed out that the first half of the year is the high season for Florida tourism.

DD: Lots to talk about this week starting off with the National Association for Business Economics, a big meeting there.

University of West Florida

This week Dr. Rick Harper wrote several reports on jobs across the region, in Panama City, Okaloosa County, and Pensacola. He spoke with Sandra Averhart.

SA: "The Pensacola area sees job gains in December- Real estate, hospitality among sectors that have hit pre-recession employment levels."

  A report released Monday from the Haas Center at the University of West Florida contradicts an earlier report on payday loans in Florida. The Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University in Miami released a report in late summer that said the Pensacola region was responsible for close to 40 percent of the state’s payday loan transactions in 2012, far more than any other metropolitan area in Florida.

New numbers from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity show that the state's unemployment rate edged up slightly in May to 6.3%. That translates to about 606,000 jobless Floridians.

The bump in the rate, from April’s 6.2% mark, was not totally unexpected. Economists had projected it to grow slightly, as more people began seeking work as the economic recovery continues. DEO Executive Director Jesse Panuccio says concentrate on the big picture.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the factors behind Florida’s inclusion on a list “The Biggest Losers: The 5 Worst State Economies,” as reported by CNN Money.

Each of the states is listed in part due to the decrease in their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2007 and 2013.

Nevada topped the list, with a 10% drop in GDP. Florida followed with a GDP of -7%.  Also in the top five are Connecticut, Arizona and Michigan.